by Liz Walter
Last month, I spoke about general words connected with data. This post covers ways of talking about what we can see from data, particularly when numbers increase, decrease or remain the same. For anyone doing IELTS, this should be useful vocabulary to learn!
The number of homeless people has gone up this year.
Sales were down by over 15% last month.
These figures show that unemployment is still rising.
Deaths have climbed to their highest level since 2005.
We can see that these new procedures have reduced the number of late trains.
The rate of infection has declined.
We often use the noun forms of these words too:
This graph shows a growth in profits.
There has been a reduction in the number of children being immunized.
Slump (verb and noun) is also used when levels or numbers go down, but only when the decrease is unwanted:
Newspapers are reporting a slump in the price of oil.
Calls to the helpline spiked last week.
Some investors believe these share prices have reached a peak.
Temperatures are set to hit record levels this summer.
Membership has now topped 100,000.
When numbers or levels do not change much, we say they plateau. In the context of Covid-19, we often hear experts saying that we need to flatten the curve, meaning to cause cases to increase gradually rather than suddenly:
The increase in obesity has begun to plateau.
Self-isolation will help to flatten the curve of infections.
Infections rose yesterday, but overall we are seeing a downward trend.
We are now on a trajectory to meet our targets.
And finally, we often use adjectives and their related adverbs to talk about the speed or intensity of a rise or fall in numbers. For big changes, we use adjectives like sharp or steep or significant. Gradual changes happen slowly, while rapid or sudden changes happen quickly:
There has been a sharp fall in visitor numbers.
Wage levels have risen rapidly in the last five years.
I hope you find these words and phrases useful. We must all hope for a significant decrease in Covid-19 soon. Stay safe!